MetroVanWatch welcomes Carol Mason as new Chief Administrative Officer for Metro Vancouver, calls for change

MetroVanWatch welcomes Carol Mason as Metro Vancouver’s new chief administrative officer, probably the most powerful bureaucratic position in this region of 24 local governments and 2.3 million people. The announcement of her appointment was made on June 29, 2012. (Photo credit: Nanaimo Daily News)

We call upon Ms. Mason to usher in a new era of transparency, openness, public accountability and meaningful public engagement for communities and citizens in the region. These qualities will be especially important as the region moves forward with its Regional Growth Strategy, with its time window to 2040.  MetroVanWatch has documented many concerns about the final months of the process leading up to adoption of the RGS in July 2011, and about the content of that powerful land-use bylaw, which replaced the Livable Region Strategy. Transparency and communication in good faith will be important, as city staff in each municipality are currently working quietly on detailed “regional context statements” compliant with the RGS, and which must be adopted within the next twelve months — something about which most media and citizens of the region have heard literally nothing. The public should take note that some of the key architects and players in the development of the RGS are no longer in their posts, including former Metro CAO Johnny Carline,  former Board chair Lois Jackson, former chief planner for Metro (Christina DeMarco, recently fired), and former director of planning for Vancouver (Brent Toderian, fired in January), and executive director of the development industry’s voice, the Urban Development Institute (UDI, Maureen Enser, who left at the end of June). This leaves us to watch carefully who is being selected for the new positions, and how, and what their stances are about governance, public accountability, transparency.

Ms. Mason’s role is not only as the new Chief Administrative Officer of Metro Vancouver, but also as Commissioner of the Greater Vancouver Water District, and the Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage District.

She starts at her new post in September, after leaving her current position as CAO of the Nanaimo Regional District, and replaces Metro Vancouver’s former CAO Johnny Carline who retired in February 2012. Ms. Mason will be paid $270,000 a year, report to the Metro board of directors, lead 1,500 employees, and oversee a budget of around one billion dollars. She was chosen over two internal candidates (acting CAO Delia Laglagaron and chief financial officer Jim Rusnak). She previously held senior management positions with the City of Nanaimo and Nanaimo regional district, and held various local government posts since 1991, overseeing utilities management, finance, human resources and strategic planning.

Besides regional planning functions, Metro Vancouver services include drinking water supply and treatment; sewerage, drainage and sewage treatment facilities; solid waste management; a regional parks system, an affordable housing program, and air quality management.

Links:

Media release from Metro Vancouver http://www.metrovancouver.org/mediaroom/Media%20Releases/2012-06-29-CarolMasonNewMetroVancouverCAO.pdf

Regional District of Nanaimo’s Carol mason off to new posting in Vancouver,
http://www.pqbnews.com/news/161940685.html, Parksville Qualicum Beach News, July 10, 2012

Nanaimo regional district boss appointed CAO of Metro Vancouver
http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Nanaimo+regional+district+boss+appointed+Metro+Vancouver/6863329/story.html
By Kelly Sinsoki, Vancouver Sun, June 29, 2012

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